EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants loaded up at defensive tackle in an effort to stop the run.
Justin Tuck has seen the talent at that position in camp and the defensive captain has been impressed. But he also knows somebody good is going to get cut because of a numbers game.
"I see a lot of guys making our defensive coaches and coaching staff’s job very difficult," Tuck said. "The competition is very heated in that group. I really don’t see anybody out of that group that won’t have a job somewhere. Obviously we can’t keep them all. Everybody in our defensive line room, I think, has an opportunity to play somewhere this year. And that’s rare."
The starting defensive tackles have been Linval Joseph and Cullen Jenkins, who also has seen snaps at defensive end. Shaun Rogers is on the second team but has seen snaps with the first team when Jenkins moved to defensive end to fill in for Tuck, who missed the past two practices due to a tight back.
Second-round pick Johnathan Hankins has impressed while working with the second team and Marvin Austin and Mike Patterson have been working with the third team. Frank Okam is also in the mix and Markus Kuhn has been on the PUP list. Will the Giants be able to keep five or six defensive tackles on the final roster?
"Honestly, there’s been times this season, times in my career, you look at guys we’ve got in that [defensive line] room and you just say, he shouldn’t be here," Tuck said. "But out of all the guys we have in that defensive line room, I don’t see anybody that doesn’t have the potential, [doesn't] have the talent, to make a team somewhere, if it’s not here."
Tuck has been very impressed with Hankins, not to mention fellow rookie defensive end Damontre Moore, thus far.
"The two rookies we have on our D-line have stood out," Tuck said. "Moore has been explosive, he is still very raw. But you can see the talent and the potential there. Hank is quiet and he is more polished. You can tell he’s obviously had a great coach and played big-time football [at Ohio State]. Both of them have but Hank seems to be a little more polished right now. But the potential of Moore is off the radar right now."
Tuck also likes the D's potential and the motivation he has seen since the start of camp.
"We have a certain aura around us as a team," Tuck said. "A lot of guys are very conscious about what we want our identity to be and I think a lot of guys have verbalized that and continue to verbalize that. You don’t see a lot of wasted reps, a lot of wasted time either and I think that is really going to help this football team because the sense of urgency to be a good defensive team is now.
"It doesn’t wait until Dallas," Tuck said of the season opener. "It started a week ago."